Susan is content creator who is living her dream life in Bali. As Gypsy in Sneakers she makes IG and youtube content. After finding a villa in Pererenan, she has chosen to take a long lease and will renovate it to her own taste.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m from The Netherlands and I moved here after I graduated in Tourism Management.
I wanted to do more, so I moved here with my savings and then I started to do Instagram and then photography. Eventually, I decided to do Youtube because I wanted to show my experiences to people. So, long story short , I started Youtube and then my 4th or 5th video went viral and I got monetised just like that! Then I grew the channel very quickly. I saw the benefits and I kept doing it. Now I’m also doing partnerships, and I have some online digital products too.
Moving to Bali
Why did you come to Bali?
I had been here before, and I knew that Bali is the hot spot for influencers. So I thought that if I want to go in the direction of photography, then this is the place to be. It’s also cheap and safe and there’s a mix of cultures. I’ve been here about 2 years and I love it!
I had lived in Laos for a while and as I was the only foreigner there, I didn’t want to have that experience again.
What do you love about Bali?
For me, number #1 is the people. I really respect the authenticity of the people. The people here are so nice and loving and respectful. They are genuinely friendly and act out of karma.
I also love the nature here. If you want to go to a beach or a forest or a mountain, you can so easily. For a content creator, that’s perfect! Whatever you want to do, it’s a 1 hour drive away!
I live in Canggu because of the cafes and high speed internet and the accessibility to so many places. Also I can find like-minded people. As a solo traveller, I’m always looking for people to work with, who want to explore places together! It’s great to have a community here!
Why did you decide to renovate a house and live here?
Bali has me! I just love it here! I can’t see myself anywhere else. I love this island so much! So I decided to build here and stay!
Why did you choose Pererenan?
Berawa is a little too crowded for me, but Pererenan is still up and coming. It’s changing everyday!
Finding the villa
How did you find the villa to renovate?
I was looking on Facebook community and I got a random guy’s number. Although I responded to the ad, I missed that villa, but the next day the same guy texted me and he had another villa, so I wanted to see it.
I wasn’t there but I asked my friend Jill to go and check it out. She told me it was beautiful so I went to see it as soon as I could. It’s brand new and finished, but it’s pretty basic, so I wanted to renovate it to my taste because it will be home. I saw so much potential. Of course, it is not furnished, so after I renovate, I will need to furnish it too.
What sort of renovation will you so?
We don’t have to do anything structural, but we will knock holes in walls and add some built-in furniture. Currently, it’s an open plan living, but I want to enclose it. For living here, it has to be enclosed!
When did you get the villa and how long will the renovation take?
About 3 weeks ago I got it and it will be finished in 2 or 3 months. It’s all going at 100 miles an hour right now.
Diving right in!
How much research did you do?
Actually I didn’t do much. That’s typical for me – I just dive in!
How did you find you builder?
I found him through Casa Nomada. They invited me to their house opening, and I loved their home. Even though I didn’t have any plans at that stage, I thought “I need to keep this in mind for a few years later”. Then a few months later, I contacted him because I needed a builder. So he came by and he had such good ideas that I knew he would be great.
What has been challenging in this process?
The most challenging part is that I don’t know much about the world that I am in right now! I have to ask a lot of questions so I get all the details, and that can be really time-consuming.
Also, the way they build here is very different to The Netherlands. So I need to check on it every single day! It might just be small things but I have to be there everyday so I can stop little problems from turning into big problems.
One of the hardest parts is when they are doing something I don’t like and I see it. Then I have to decide immediately how I want them to fix it. I don’t have much time to go and research. I need to change it then and there!
For example, in the shower, there was no place to put the shampoo and conditioner. So I told them I wanted a nook there and they needed me to decide right there. Where to put it, how big to make it, how deep should the nook be. And they just started breaking the wall in front of me to make it! It’s easy to second guess yourself and think “Am I making the right decision?”
Do it legally!
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to build or renovate in Bali?
I think that you have to be carefully to do everything legally. I lot of people dive in and can get in trouble. The first thing I did was start my own company here. Make sure you use a good notary, who has been recommended. It’s an expense that you don’t really want to spend, but it’s very important.
If you’re renovating, then you need to be really involved during the process. All your other work needs to be set aside so you can focus on the project!
Follow Susan’s build journey at Casa Gypsy
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